Lemon biscotti are a refreshing light cookie with a crispy texture perfect for dunking in your hot coffee, tea or even a glass of sweet wine! The addition of pistachios and white chocolate makes this delicious Italian cookie absolutely decadent!
It is easy to see why these Italian cookies have become coffee house favorites all around the world. They are lightly sweet and can be made with so many combinations of ingredients that there is a flavor for every palate.
This particular recipe has become my favorite, especially as we are getting into spring. I love the bright flavor that lemon brings to this biscotti recipe, and it combines beautifully with the nutty pistachio and the softness of the white chocolate. Lemon biscotti are perfect with your morning coffee, afternoon tea, or as a light evening snack.
What are Biscotti?
Biscotti are traditional Italian cookies that get their name from the way they are baked. The word biscotti means “twice baked” in Italian. The recipe calls for forming the dough into a log for its initial bake and then slicing it into individual cookies before returning them to the oven for a second bake. This second bake dries the cookies and crisps them up.
Biscotti originated in the town of Prato in Tuscany and are more commonly known as “cantucci”. In Italy the word biscotti is more generally used to refer to cookies. These delicious cookies were typically served after dinner with a glass of Vin Santo (“holy wine”). Vin Santo is a sweet Italian dessert wine also originating in Tuscany. The two were the perfect pairing and the biscotti were often enjoyed by dunking them in the wine.
These little treasures are light, crispy and easy to make. Here are a few tips that will help you make the best biscotti:
Start with simple ingredients
- Butter, eggs and sugar: Start with room temperature butter and eggs. This will ensure that they cream more thoroughly. Use unsalted butter so that you can control the amount of salt that you add to the recipe.
- Flour, baking soda and salt: Don’t scoop the four into your measuring cup. Instead spoon the flour into your measuring cup and then use the flat back of a knife to level it off. This method will keep you from packing the flour, which often results in more flour than you need in a recipe and can produce a dry result. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt together before adding them to the batter.
- Pistachios: Chop the pistachios into small pieces before adding them to the dough. This is important because it will be easier to cut biscotti. It is almost impossible to cut the dough without it crumbling when the nuts are whole.
- Lemon: Lemon juice and zest provide the lovely bright citrus flavor to this cookie.
- White Chocolate: Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Stir well between each interval in the microwave until it is completely melted and smooth.
- Form the dough into a log of about 3-4” wide by ¾” high on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
- Let the biscotti cool for about 5-10 minutes after the first bake and use a serrated knife and a sawing motion to cut the biscotti. If the dough is too warm it may break while you are cutting them.
- If you want a longer cookie such as those in coffee houses and bakeries, cut the biscotti at an angle.
- Lay the biscotti on their side on the parchment lined cookie sheet and bake them at 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn the biscotti over and bake them for another 10 minutes.
The biscotti need to bake about 10 minutes per side at 300 degrees to dry and crisp up. If the cookie is still soft after the second bake, then it did not bake long enough.
The biscotti we know and love today is a cookie. But in early days it was bread that was preserved for long travels by baking it twice and drying it out.
Yes, you can absolutely freeze them. As long as they are tightly wrapped, they will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If the dough has not cooled enough it will crumble when cutting them. They need to to be warm but not hot.
Biscotti goes well with any drink but in Italy it is usually served with coffee, tea, or a dessert wine. The cookie’s crispy texture makes it perfect for dunking in any of these liquids. But you can certainly dunk them in milk, hot chocolate or anything that sounds yummy to you!
Other tasty Italian cookies you will love!
Lemon Biscotti with Pistachios
- 1 Parchment Paper
- 1 Cookie sheet
- Serrated Knife
- 5 Tbsp Butter unsalted, room temperature
- ⅔ Cup Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Tbsp Lemon zest
- 3 Tbsp Lemon juice
- 2 Cups Flour All purpose
- 1½ Tsp Baking powder
- ¼ Tsp Salt
- ½ Cup Pistachios Chopped
- 10 Oz White chocolate chips
- Pre heat oven to 350°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Cream together the butter and sugar, beating it until it is fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, the lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat until they are fully incorporated into the batter.
- Add the flour mixture and beat until all of the flour disappears.
- Stir in the pistachios until they are evenly dispersed throughout the batter.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and form into a log that is about 3-4" wide by about 3/4" high. Use your hands to flatten the dough and shape it. If the dough is sticky you may need to flour your hands.
- Bake the biscotti for 30 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes.
- Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the cookies into ½" slices and lay them on the cookie sheet, cut side up.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 300°. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Turn them over and bake for 10 more minutes. Remove the biscotti from the oven and cool completely.
- While the biscotti are cooling, place the chocolate chips in a medium sized, microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, remove from the microwave and give them a stir. Continue to do this until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
- Decorate the biscotti with the white chocolate any way you like. Dip the ends, bottoms or drizzle the chocolate on the biscotti. Lay them on a wire rack to dry.
- The finished biscotti can be stored in an airtight container for 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.